Motivated by my relocation five hundred miles away from my home in South Jersey, I decided to completely reinvent my business so it was more of the work I wanted to do and less of what I didn’t want.
Instead, I got more of both.
I’m thrilled that my show launched successfully.
It landed on New & Noteworthy in iTunes before it even had any downloads!
It was in New & Noteworthy in three categories and in N&N for all of iTunes almost every day for 8 weeks.
It attracted me joint venture offers, new clients, and new connections.
I was even featured in two commercials for website host, Hostgator.
Revenue is up and opportunities keep coming.
And while I’m thrilled and grateful for all the good things coming my way, I wanted to share some advice that falls in the “be careful what you wish for” category.
The trick is to be ready for growth when it happens.
Here are my 5 tips to help you prepare for growth based on what I’ve learned since things really started taking off for me.
1. Take care of yourself. This is the number one thing for a reason. If you’re not performing at your peak then you won’t be able to sustain growth. Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Drink plenty of water. And build in time for activity and exercise. But the most important thing you need to do is to manage your schedule. It will take you three times as long to get things done so stop saying yes to everyone NOW, before you get so busy you burst in to tears when someone asks how you’re doing.
Yes, that happened to me.
2. Start looking for help before you actually need it. As a former recruiter with more than 10,000 interviews under my belt and a 94.6% retention rate for those I interviewed, trust me when I tell you that it takes much longer to find the right person than you think it does. And don’t just go by a referral from someone you know. My first two virtual assistants came highly recommended and let’s just say things didn’t go well.
Depending on the skill level you’re looking for and your own work schedule it’s going to take you at least 3 months to find the right person and get them onboard (orient them, teach them your way of doing things, etc.). If you don’t have processes down (I didn’t and am working on them) it could take you as long to onboard them as it does to recruit them.
And don’t think you’ll just do everything yourself because it’s easier than hiring someone. Your revenue and enjoyment of life will be limited if you continue to do everything yourself. Yes, managing costs is important but so is doing work you’re great at and that brings you joy. I’ll bet every task involved in delivering your service doesn’t bring you joy.
3. Document everything. Getting ready to grow requires a lot of creating. You’re putting together your new offer, finishing a book, or creating a new process. If you don’t document everything as you go, you’ll end up with twice as much work when you should be just handing things off to your support person. And sometimes you’ll have to pay extra to have someone help you document the process.
4. Monitor and manage your cash flow well. One of the crazy things that happens when you grow is you discover you need to spend more money to actually achieve the growth or to sustain it. Your email list grows and you find yourself faced with the choice of paying more for the next size up of email contacts or moving to a different provider to get a better price and have more room for growth.
Make sure your invoicing when it’s time and following up on **unpaid invoices. And watch your spending. You need money to pay for help so hold off on buying anything that’s truly not needed.
Investigate additional, easy opportunities to maximize your revenue without much extra effort. For example, I subscribe to Ebates.com and have its extension on my browser.
When I’m about to buy something from a company in their system I get a little prompt to activate their cash-back deal. It’s not much but it’s been enough for lunch out once a month. And it’s stuff I’d be buying anyway. Another strategy I use is affiliate marketing.
Yes, sometimes links I include on my website, and in my books and courses are affiliate links. That means I earn a little commission if someone clicks through and buys. It’s not huge and I only do it for things I’m really comfortable with – often that I use or have used personally or that someone on my team uses. It’s simple to do; it’s easy; and every little bit helps.
5. Ask for – and accept — help. That famous philosopher, Anonymous, once said “Being an entrepreneur is the most expensive and intense personal development program there is.” And she was right.
I had always known I was incredibly independent. And my husband, Lou, often tells me I’m “hard to be nice to.” Being independent is one of my top values, but there’s just no way I could have gotten my podcast, Let’s Talk Tech, and the business I’m building around it off the ground if I hadn’t accepted and asked for help.
And I have to tell you it was hard.
Not just because I had to pay for it but because I felt so…undeserving….unworthy?
Growing up in corporate America you get indoctrinated in this belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness because God forbid someone should think you can’t do what they’ve asked.
But in reality – especially as an entrepreneur – asking for and accepting help is a sign of a very healthy person.
I caught the tail-end of a presentation by Facebook guru Mari Smith a few months ago. One of the most important things we needed to do in 2016 she said was “get help”. She said there was no way she’d be at the place she now is were it not for the support she’s gotten.
Growth is fantastic. It’s fun and exciting; but it’s also exhausting and frightening.
If you’re going to get your business to the next level of **success while enjoying the sort of life you want – plenty of time for enjoying friends, family, and interests – then it’s important to prepare for and manage growth effectively.